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Review: Next Level Racing’s $300 Formula Lite Pro living room-friendly racing cockpit [Video]

1 week ago 8

Expanding its affordable, foldable sim-racing cockpits line-up, the Next Level Racing Formula Lite Pro comes in at just $300. It’s designed to pack down and be easily stored with all of the sim-racing hardware still attached. But does it provide the strength and comfort needed for long gaming sessions? Be sure to hit the video below to find out. 

The Formula Lite Pro was designed with a few things in mind. It’s meant to be foldable and easy to store when not in use. It’s also very affordable for a cockpit at just $300. The support straps enable the “Pro” addition to the name by supporting wheelbases with up to 10nm of torque. 

This seems directly aimed at console gamers who want to use a cockpit in their living room on a TV but can’t always leave it set up. Once you’re done or when needed, it can be packed up and stored in the corner of a room or even a closet. 

Design

Next Level Racing has taken many features of its other affordable, foldable cockpits, the GTLite, F-GT Lite, and GTLite Pro, and adapted them to the Formula Lite Pro. At the core of the foldable design are two hubs that use a cam lever to tighten and loosen. This is how the cockpit folds and what keeps the seat, wheel plate tube, and front leg locked in place.

The Formula Lite Pro also uses three straps to strengthen the wheel plate tube that supports the wheelbase. A single strap on the GTLite and F-GT Lite helps but adding the dual straps on the GTLite Pro and this Formula Lite Pro running down to the pedal frame adds more stability when pulling back on the wheel.

Otherwise, the cockpit has been designed with plenty of adjustment points that don’t require tools to adjust. With those adjustments, it’s meant to be useable for people from 3ft 6in to 6ft 5in (110cm-200cm). My 8-year-old 4ft 6in daughter had trouble seeing over the steering wheel.

Formula Lite Pro: Video

When folded, the cockpit has wheels that make moving it around a room for storage much easier. 

With that in mind, it’s aimed at a formula-style seating position, which puts the pedals higher than GT-style seats. That means the seat back is more laid back, and the wheel sits higher as well. 

Users can change the wheel plate angle, wheel plate horizontal adjustment, backrest angle, and height, front leg height, pedal frame height, and pedal plate distance. All without any tools. 

Once everything is set, the wheel plate tube can be swung out of the way with the wheel plate latch to get in and out of the cockpit. You do want to pay attention to the clips on the straps, though, as I broke one in my testing when opening the cockpit. Ensure that excessive force is not applied when pivoting the wheel plate tube to get in and out of the cockpit. It might even be worth it to loosen the left strap before getting in and out of the cockpit if possible. 

How’s the comfort?

With everything set up, it took me a little while to dial in the most comfortable position for me on the Formula Lite Pro. It’s unlike my GT Omega Titan, which also has the optional wheel plate slider where I can move the pedals and seat forward and backward. 

I’m about 6’1, and there is plenty of more room for the Formula Lite Pro to fit a taller driver. The pedal plate can slide much further away, and the seat back can move higher. 

The seat itself is okay for its purpose but not great for long-term comfort. It puts a lot of pressure on my tailbone, which is more fatiguing than a GT-style seat. 

It also took me a few times to dial in the best wheelbase placement. Once mounted, you can slide the plate forward and backward as well as adjust the angle. In general, it always felt very close to me but maybe that is just a part of the formula-style ergonomics that I’m not as used to. 

In-Use

During most of my testing, I’ve been using the Moza R3 bundle on an Xbox Series X. This feels like a good match for budget and use. The Formula Lite Pro’s foldable and movable nature fits the console experience well, as you can get it out of the way when not in use.

The R3 doesn’t get anywhere near the maximum torque support of the Formula Lite Pro, but it still shows some of the compromises inherent with this design. The straps help to add more rigidity to the wheel plate tube, but there is still significant flex that absorbs some of the fine details from a direct-drive wheelbase. 

I’m using the SRP-Lite set from Moza with a clutch and performance brake kit for pedals. Hard-mounting pedals onto something like the Formula Lite Pro is a great upgrade from having them on the floor. There was minimal flex and movement from the brake pedals. The Formula Lite Pro felt like the perfect companion here.

9to5Toys’ Take

While it is very affordable for a sim-racing cockpit, the Formula Lite Pro is a tale of compromise. I don’t find it overly comfortable for long racing sessions but that is compared to the much more expensive cockpits that I am used to using – the PlaySeat Trophy and GT Omega Titan

It also absorbs some of the finer details from even direct drive wheelbases like the Moza R3 due to the inherent flex in the support straps. 

But, for console Formula racers on a budget who need something that can be packed up and put away, the Formula Lite Pro might tick all of the right boxes. The ergonomics are vastly different from a desk setup. And having something to hard-mount the pedals to is one of the best ways to upgrade a sim-racing experience. I found myself enjoying it more the more that I used it. While it won’t replace a $700 tube sim rig, it adds a lot of immersion without breaking the bank or taking up too much room.

Buy Next Level Racing Formula Lite Pro

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